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Recreational Sports

Special needs kids can benefit from competitive and solo sports. Physical fitness is important in this population. Examples include bike riding, skating, hockey, soccer, skiing, swimming, and horseback riding. Adapted programs for many sports exist, some of which are mentioned elsewhere in this list.

City Parks and Recreation Departments

There are a wide range of programs, and there are special needs representatives. It all depends on the size of your community and the type of programs available. Larger cities have more and varied opportunities.

Community Association for Riding for the Disabled (CARD)

www.card.ca
Toronto ON  416-667-8600
This is a therapeutic horseback riding program for children and adults with disabilities. Its goals are to improve balance, coordination, confidence, self esteem and social skills.

Gymboree Learning Program

www.gymboreeclasses.com
Programs offered nationally
This program offers a progression of developmentally appropriate play, music and arts classes for infants and young children and their parents. The website has interesting links.

Harbourfront Centre

www.harbourfrontcentre.com
Toronto ON  416-973-4600
A wide range of programs are offered throughout the year for children.

Laura Hunters STEPS Programs

www.stepsprograms.com
Stouffville ON  905-642-8001 
STEPS stands for Specialized Therapeutic Education for Physical Skills. Laura runs gym, biking, horseback riding and lifeskills programs year-round, for toddlers to young adults with intellectual and/or physical disabilities. 

Martial Arts

Martial arts may be beneficial to children with learning or developmental disabilities because they have an individualistic bent, so even an uncoordinated, unfocused person can be successful. They can improve self-esteem and confidence.

Ontario Track 3 Ski Association

www.track3.org
Ontario  416-233-3872, Toll Free 1-877-308-7225
This organization teaches downhill skiing and snowboarding to children and youth with all kinds of disabilities.

Pointe-Claire Aquatic Centre

www.ville.pointe-claire.qc.ca
Pointe-Claire QB  514-630-1202
The Centre has adaptive programs for special needs children with low staff:student ratios. These are non-competitive swim and gym programs, with activities focussing on coordination, fine motor skills and social skills.

Special Olympics Canada

www.specialolympics.ca
Toll Free 1-888-888-0608
Programs offered nationally
This is a community-based organization across Canada that provides sport training and competition opportunities for children and adults with an intellectual disability.

The Y

www.ymca.ca
Programs offered nationally
Ys have many activities and camps that include kids with special needs.